Antonia Wright - video / performance artist

 

"I find the best work comes from insight, so I look for bizarre situations in the world."

Antonia Wright
Antonia Wright photo by Anthony Spinello
 

By Jose Ortiz | Photos by Anthony Spinello

Antonia Wright
Video and Performance Artist
Age: 31
Hometown: Miami
Website: Antoniawright.com
 
What influences your work?
I try to stay curious, open minded. I find the best work comes from insight, so I look for bizarre situations in the world. I make a lot of work as a response to political situations. At the Sagamore you can see “Deep Water Horizon”. I did that last year as response to the BP oil spill. I remember feeling so helpless and just disgusting, really, really upset and I kept looking at the images of these oily birds. Wanting to bring it closer to understand it, I found the most disgusting alley on Miami Beach and had a friend meet me at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. I took all my clothes off and I rolled down the alley towards the camera and the whole thing took 33 seconds. I was scraped and bruised all over my body. I got a concussion, a black eye. Just really, really torn up. Afterwards I was like, I get it. This is what we’ve done. My response is always with a lot of urgency and it always brings everything to the body.
 
What mediums do you work in?
Video, photography, installation, performance art
 
Can you describe your style?
Fearless and insightful
 
Tell me something about yourself no one would expect?
I was determined to go to the Amazon and I got myself a plane ticket to the northern most city in Peru. When I arrived, I got on this ferry that took two days up the river, by myself. You just hang a hammock and when you get off. I found this guy who took me on a put-put canoe and took me to this town with no electricity or running water and I set up shop there and just taught at this little school. It was amazing. I saw pink dolphins. I think that was the most rock-n-roll trip I’ve ever done.
 
What painters or artists excite you?
Sophie Calle, Marina Abromovic, Patty Chang, Frank O’Hara
 
Do you have any famous relatives?
My Tio Pancho was on the 100 dollar bill in Cuba. He was the first person to pay laborers in the country. My mom is Carolina Garcia Aguilera, who has published nine books. My uncle is a painter, Emilio Sanchez.

If you were hosting a fantasy dinner party, who are your four guests?
John Lennon, Ralf Waldo Emerson, Simone de Bouvier, Hemingway
 
What motivated your interest in the arts?
Growing up with my mother as a writer was really influential. She got me into writing, she introduced me to poetry. I wrote for many years and I have an MFA in poetry. I think that was a really big turning point for me. I wrote my thesis on poets who were performance artists and then I really dove into the visual arts after that. I was taking photos and I really committed to it and video after that.
 
In the past five years what is a positive change you’ve seen around town?
I get really excited when I see new galleries and artist- run spaces open.
 
What is a skill most people don't know you have?
In college I had a job as a clown at children's birthday parties. I can paint a beautiful cat face and make a mean sword balloon.
 
Where do you like to eat?
A la Folie, I go there and write all the time. Also Yardbird and Gigi’s.
 
Where do you like to drink?
I go out to mostly art events, openings, and parties. When I go out I’m more of a pubs over clubs type of person. I like The Abbey, The Deuce, The VWF, and Churchills.
 
What’s your next project?
During Basel my boyfriend, Ruben Millares, will sing the Titanic theme song while I do an impromptu performance. Flashmob style. It’s called “Near, Far”.

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